Each year, Autodesk sponsors an enormous user’s conference and exposition called Autodesk University (AU). The event brings together more than 10,000 professionals from construction, manufacturing, architecture, engineering and media creation to learn more about their digital design solutions and capabilities, network, share best practices and work collaboratively to overcome challenges.
Taking place from November 19-21, 2019, this year’s Autodesk University will be jammed with educational opportunities, side sessions, classes and discussions. There is so much scheduled that it could be downright intimidating and overwhelming for some.
Luckily, the members of the DLT team have been attending Autodesk University for years. We sat down with a few DLT team members to talk about what they look forward to at the annual event, the topics they think will dominate this year’s conference and tips they have for first timers to ensure they get the most out of their Autodesk University experience.
Our first conversation was with Justin Staub, an account manager at DLT. Here is what he had to say:
GovDesignHub: Can you tell us a little bit about AU? Who usually is in attendance?
Justin Staub: Autodesk University is a grand display of innovative design technology. Last year’s conference was my first in attendance, and I was truly amazed by the use cases people were demonstrating for Autodesk solutions, as well as the additional ecosystem of technologies on display that add functionality and capability to Autodesk solutions.
Regarding who is in attendance, most of the people that I interacted with were Autodesk users that worked in the architecture, engineering and construction industries. However, I also met a handful of college professors and other educators that were there to learn about the future of the industry so that they can share it with their students. Many of them were interested in some of the new ways industry professionals are conducting existing conditions modeling – including through the use of LiDAR and drones.
Although there wasn’t a large government contingency at last year’s conference, there were many users in attendance – including large engineering and architecture firms – that do work on behalf of the government. Based on my discussions with them, many were unaware that their government work would actually make them applicable for some Autodesk government perks and pricing.
GovDesignHub: What could government users gain from attending Autodesk University 2019?
Justin Staub: I think they’ll get a window into how the design, architecture and construction industries are evolving. They’ll see how the AEC technologies of today and tomorrow will forever change how they design and construct government buildings and infrastructure projects – from train stations to military bases.
They can also learn how manufacturing is evolving. They’ll learn about the evolution of generative design and 3d printing. They’ll see how the latest and greatest technologies are making it easier to conceive new products and solutions and bring those designs to life.
GovDesignHub: What are some of the large, overarching trends and new technologies in manufacturing that you think will be covered?
Justin Staub: One of the more exciting technologies that I think will be a major focus at this year’s conference will be augmented reality and virtual reality.
In the past, designs were static things on a computer screen or on paper. They weren’t interactive and they weren’t immersive. But that’s starting to change thanks in large part to the new augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) solutions entering the marketplace.
The industry is moving towards being able to put on a VR headset and “see” what the design will look like. In this environment, the design is immersive, it’s interactive and it can be placed in the space that it will be constructed. That’s an exciting new technology that could make it better for building owners and government agencies because they can see the building prior to it being built and get a better idea of how it will work and look in the space.
It will also be an effective tool for the people leading the design and construction processes through the AEC lifecycle. AR and VR can give them the opportunity to see the building and identify issues in advance, before construction even starts. This can help them to avoid construction delays and cost overruns.
I think this movement towards embracing VR and AR technology will be a hot topic at this year’s event.
GovDesignHub: What are you, personally, most excited about at this year’s show? Is there a particular topic, side session or panel that you’re personally excited to attend?
Justin Staub: I’m personally really excited about manufacturing technologies. Although I work extensively in the AEC world and community, the advancements in manufacturing are particularly interesting to me.
We’re seeing a massive evolution in this space, and new fabrication processes that were previously unheard of are entering the marketplace. We’re seeing new, previously unused materials entering the marketplace and making their way into the design and manufacturing process. These new materials will change what’s possible – including the construction of lightweight, strong materials that could be used in space exploration and aerospace.
And the evolution of 3d printing, additive manufacturing and subtractive manufacturing are making the construction of new products and designs that were previously too complicated for older manufacturing processes possible.
GovDesignHub: As a returning AU attendee, are there any tips you can share for first timers to ensure they get the most out of their experience at this year’s show? What would you tell a first timer to help them get the most out of their time in Las Vegas?
Justin Staub: It’s very easy to get distracted by the bright lights of Sin City – but you really have to fight that. There’s simply too much quality content to waste time.
You also have to plan your class schedule carefully and in advance. Classes are long, but they’re exceptionally educational. Since classes can be exceptionally long and immersive, you can only fit so many in during the conference. I suggest identifying the ones that are most valuable to you in your job and your agency and focus your time on them. Quality is certainly better than quantity in this instance.
Finally, I encourage you to speak with instructors and engage with them. Instructors are especially welcoming and inviting. They’ll gladly chat after class and work through any questions you might have, but you have to be willing to ask.
Featured image courtesy of Autodesk.